Political activist and poet Sarojini Naidu has once again found herself the object of our collective imagination, as a video of her introducing herself as an ambassador to the United States of America goes viral.
Popularly known as the Nightingale of India, Sarojini Naidu is one of the country’s earliest suffragettes and women leaders. She is remembered for her work as a poet, her activism with the Indian National Congress as a freedom fighter, and as the first woman to hold a Governor’s office in post-Independence India.
In a video released by Brut. India recently, we get to see her as she was in 1928. In it, she introduces herself as an ambassador to the United States of America and speaks eloquently about herself and her role. She calls women “…the very pivot of …[Indian] culture.”
Upon reaching the US in 1928, this is how the great Sarojini Naidu introduced herself. pic.twitter.com/Z6imCuwBIo— Brut India (@BrutIndia) November 19, 2020
In the video, one can see Sarojini Naidu’s confidence and authority shine through. Her assured attitude is an important picture of Indian womanhood in the early 20th century, as well as a necessary window into the past for Indian women today.
Her ambassadorship also cemented her role in the nationalist movement. It gave her a much-needed legitimacy; both as India’s representative to the United States of America, and in relation to assumptions made by male Indian nationalists.
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The video, as well as letters she wrote to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi during that sojourn, provide some insight into her experience. Sarojini Naidu presents herself as a “…self-confident cosmopolitan Indian woman,” and an important participant in Indian politics.
Till date, Independent India has had only 17 Indian women in this diplomatic position.
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